Monday, January 03, 2011

Paging Ahead

With the start of every new year, I look forward to reading more books than I was able to enjoy in the previous 12 months. More books, in fact, than any two or three human beings might consume annually--with the exception, perhaps, of speed reader and critic Sarah Weinman. Knowledge of this tendency on my part does absolutely nothing to dampen my optimism. As in previous Januarys, I have made my list of books I would like to get through, and there’s no way to convince me that I won’t devour at least most of them by the time turkeys go on sale next Thanksgiving. Not until September or thereabouts will I suddenly wake up in a panic, realizing that I shall have to trim my expectations once again. Mortal limits can be so damnably hard to accept.

In 2010, my consumption of crime, mystery, and thriller works was fairly evenly divided between vintage and new novels. My preference would be to follow a similar course during the coming 12 months. Copies of old-reliable authors such as Erle Stanley Gardner, Thomas B. Dewey, Ellery Queen, Robert Martin, and Talmage Powell already await my attention. However, as I find my leisure hours becoming more and more limited, I may have to set aside classic or historically obscure books in favor of new ones.

As it stands, my list of most-anticipated new crime-fiction reads being published over the next four months looks like this:

JANUARY (U.S. releases):
• Quentin Bates, Frozen Assets (Soho Crime)
• Robert Crais, The Sentry (Putnam)
• P. L. Gaus, A Prayer for the Night (Plume)
• Peter Helton, Falling More Slowly (Soho Constable)
• Steve Hockensmith, World’s Greatest Sleuth! (Minotaur)
Michael Koryta, The Cypress House (Little, Brown)
Laura Lippman, The Girl in the Green Raincoat (Avon)
Bradford Morrow, The Diviner’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
T. Jefferson Parker, The Border Lords (Dutton)
Robert J. Randisi, I’m a Fool to Kill You (Severn House)
Jed Rubenfeld, The Death Instinct (Riverhead)
Wallace Stroby, Cold Shot to the Heart (Minotaur)
William G. Tapply, The Nomination (Skyhorse)
Scott Thornley, Erasing Memory (Random House Canada)
Ronald Tierney, Bullet Beach (Severn House)
Charles Todd, A Lonely Death (Morrow)
Jill Paton Walsh, The Attenbury Emeralds (Minotaur)

JANUARY (UK releases):
Belinda Bauer, Darkside (Bantam Press)
Susanna Gregory, The Body in the Thames (Sphere)
James Henry, First Frost (Bantam Books)
Jim Kelly, Death Toll (Penguin)
Stuart MacBride, Shatter the Bones (HarperCollins)
Barbara Nadel, A Noble Killing (Headline)
Jo Nesbø, The Leopard (Harvill Secker)
Frank Tallis, Death and the Maiden (Century)

FEBRUARY (U.S. releases):
• Noah Boyd, Agent X (Morrow)
• Alan Bradley, A Red Herring Without Mustard (Delacorte)
• Sam Eastland, Shadow Pass (Bantam)
• Martha Grimes, Fadeaway Girl (Viking)
• Victoria Houston, Dead Deceiver (Tyrus)
• Graeme Kent, Devil-Devil (Soho Crime)
• Chris Knopf, Bad Bird (Minotaur)
• Craig McDonald, One True Sentence (Minotaur)
• Brad Parks, Eyes of the Innocent (Minotaur)
• Jonathan Rabb, The Second Son (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
• Gerald Seymour, The Collaborator (Overlook)
• Zoë Sharp, Fourth Day (Pegasus)
• Kelli Stanley, The Curse-Maker (Minotaur)
• Randy Wayne White, Night Vision (Putnam)

FEBRUARY (UK releases):
Tony Black, Truth Lies Bleeding (Preface Publishing)
Ann Cleeves, Silent Voices (Macmillan)
Charles Cumming, The Trinity Six (HarperCollins)
Alex Gray, Sleep Like the Dead (Sphere)
Tarquin Hall, The Case of the Man who Died Laughing (Hutchinson)
David Hewson, The Fallen Angel (Macmillan)
Matt Hilton, Blood and Ashes (Hodder & Stoughton)
Simon Kernick, The Payback (Bantam Press)
James McGee, Rebellion (HarperCollins)
Guy Saville, The Afrika Reich (Hodder & Stoughton)

MARCH (U.S. releases):
• Kate Atkinson, Started Early, Took My Dog (Regan Arthur)
• Louis Bayard, The School of Night (Henry Holt)
• Cara Black, Murder in Passy (Soho Crime)
• C.J. Box, Cold Wind (Putnam)
• Chelsea Cain, The Night Season (Minotaur)
• Harlan Coben, Live Wire (Dutton)
• David Dickinson, Death in a Scarlet Coat (Soho Crime)
• Jasper Fforde, One of Our Thursdays Is Missing (Viking)
• John Galligan, The Wind Knot (Tyrus)
• Lou Manfredo, Rizzo’s Fire (Minotaur)
• Peter May, Blowback (Poisoned Pen Press)
• Russel D. McLean, The Lost Sister (Minotaur)
• A. Scott Pearson, Public Anatomy (Oceanview)
• Ian Rankin, The Complaints (Regan Arthur)
• Keith Thomson, Twice a Spy (Doubleday)
• James Thompson, Lucifer’s Tears (Putnam)
• Laura Wilson, An Empty Death (Minotaur)
• Jacqueline Winspear, A Lesson in Secrets (Harper)

MARCH (UK releases):
• Patrick Easter, The Watermen (Quercus)
• Gordon Ferris, The Hanging Shed (Corvus)
• Robert Goddard, Blood Count (Bantam Press)
• Camilla Läckberg, The Gallows Bird (HarperCollins)
• Henning Mankell, The Troubled Man (Harvill Secker)
• Andrew Martin, The Somme Stations (Faber and Faber)
• M.J. McGrath, White Heat (Mantle)
• Ian Sansom, The Norfolk Mysteries (Fourth Estate)

APRIL (U.S. releases):
• Michael Connelly, The Fifth Witness
(Little, Brown)
• Janet Dawson, Bit Player (Perseverance Press)
David Downing, Potsdam Station
(Soho Crime)
• Martin Edwards, Hanging Wood (Poisoned
Pen Press)
• Philip Kerr, Field Gray (Putnam)
• Jassy Mackenzie, Stolen Lives (Soho Crime)
• Jean-Patrick Manchette, Fatale
(NYRB Classics)
• Bill Moody, Fade to Blue (Poisoned Pen Press)
• Robert B. Parker, Sixkill (Putnam)
• John Shannon, A Little Too Much (Severn House)
• Julia Spencer-Fleming, One Was a Soldier (Minotaur)
• Norb Vonnegut, The Gods of Greenwich (Minotaur)
• Don Winslow, Satori (Grand Central)

APRIL (UK releases):
• Stephen Booth, The Devil’s Edge (Sphere)
• Mo Hayder, Hanging Hill (Bantam Press)
• M.R. Hall, The Redeemed (Mantle)
• Susan Hill, The Betrayal of Trust (Chatto & Windus)
• Lee Jackson, The Diary of a Murder (Snowbooks)
• Mari Jungstedt, The Dead of Summer (Doubleday)
• Peter Lovesey, Stagestruck (Sphere)
• Edward Marston, Blood on the Line (Allison & Busby)
• Andrew Pepper, Bloody Winter (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
• Mehmet Murat Somer, The Wig Murders (Serpent’s Tail)
• Fred Vargas, An Uncertain Place (Harvill Secker)
• S.J. Watson, Before I Go to Sleep (Doubleday)

Remember, this rundown represents only my crime-fiction interests in the first quarter of 2011. On top of all these books, I’m hoping to read more mainstream fiction in 2011 than the strangely paltry amount I did last year. And there are a number of forthcoming non-fiction works that have caught my eye, including Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America, by John Campbell McMillian (February); The Band that Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic, by Steve Turner (March); The Siege of Washington: The Untold Story of the Twelve Days That Shook the Union, by John Lockwood (March)--one of what will be many books released this year in association with the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of America’s Civil War; The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon, by Leo Braudy (March); and Unfamiliar Fishes, by Sarah Vowell (March).

Sorry, but I have to cease writing now and step away from the computer. I’m already starting to feel behind in my reading.

READ MORE:New Year’s Resolutions: Anticipated 2011 Releases,” by Brian Lindenmuth (Spinetingler Magazine).


Richard L. Pangburn said...

Thanks for posting that.

A couple of weeks ago, 60 MINUTES reported on a group of individuals that a scientist was studying, all of whom could recall almost every day of their lives. Leslie Stahl, reporting this, said that she personally knew a woman who could do this too, actress Marilu Henner. She gathered the entire group together with Henner and they were asked several questions about specific random days in the past and their answers came in chorus. It was remarkable.

Which just goes to show, that some of us have "gifts,"--a dubious word because such gifts can sometimes be handicaps--that others find incredible, beyond belief.

A lifelong prodigious reader of books myself, when I decided to post My Best Reads of 2010 on my blog--here, I decided not to list them all.

People tend to think you are just bragging or advertising your own books for sale rather than simply sharing good reads with others. One reason I haven't kept a blog until very recently.

I used to think that my flash reading was due to an experimental class I took back in the 6th grade, where words were flashed on a screen at progressively faster speeds in the hopes that students would train themselves to speed up their eye and mind coordination.

But that class did not teach anyone to love reading, and while I already was a compulsive reader and excelled through constant practice, several brighter minds around me never caught on.

I have no trouble believing that Sarah Weinmen read 462 books last year. I hope she reread many of those those books as well, and in the way I always do.

When I read a page the first time, I read with the author's text. Especially when it is a first-person narrator, I'm in their skin, see with their eyes, follow their reason, and vicariously their emotions.

The second time I read the page (and the book), it is with my observer's critical eye, drawing connections I did not see the first time, feeling for resonances, symbols, literary allusions, subtle tells in character, unconscious inflections. The second readings don't always occur with the book before me. They are liable to occur later when I am out jogging, as I then read the text again, page by page, in my mind.

I know this is hard for many people to believe. I beg your indulgence.

Richard L. Pangburn

John Shannon said...

Thanks for the shoutout, as the kids say. Keep up the good work this year.

John Shannon

Stan Ulrich said...

Wow, can I count reading that list as a book? I struggle to hit 200/year (up from 17 one year when I was working 80 hours/week).

Dan Fleming said...

Thanks for writing lists such as this. Up until last year I worked part-time at a bookstore (the late B. Daltons), so I was up to date on releases. My year away from the shelves has made it harder to keep up with what is coming out. This post eases that pain.